Factory Farms, Emissions, and Nuisance Litigation

U.S. EPA this month proposed a rule that will seek to exempt factory farms, also known as concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), from reporting emissions from animal waste under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA). The Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler (who President Trump has now officially recommended to head up the EPA) stated that exempting factory farms will provide clarity to farmers and ranchers, who were given an exemption in March of this year from reporting air emissions
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George Buermann to speak at CLM Southeast Conference on Mitigation Tools for Environmental Crisis Management

Join Goldberg Segalla’s George Buermann on November 9 at the 2018 CLM Southeast Conference in Atlanta, GA. George will be part of a panel discussion titled, “Weathering the Storm: Effective Mitigation Tools for Environmental Crisis Management.” The panel will discuss the actions insurers and businesses can take to shift their posture from being reactive to a preplanning and preventative stance as well as ways to minimize and mitigate damages that arise from environmental disasters and emergencies.  The panel will offer
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First Climate Change Trial Now on the Horizon

On October 15, 2018, Judge Ann Aiken of the U.S.D.C. for the District of Oregon denied the federal government’s motion for judgment on the pleadings and motion for summary judgment in the Juliana lawsuit filed by 21 minors. As previously explained in this blog, the minors allege that the government has violated their constitutional rights with regard to decisions that have led to climate change. Further, the minors seek to compel the federal government to prepare a consumption-based inventory of
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A $289 Million Dollar Roundup Verdict is at Risk of Reversal

Last week, a San Francisco judge issued a tentative ruling on the defendant Monsanto Company’s Motion for Judgment Notwithstanding the Verdict, and their Motion for a New Trial.  This ruling threatens to gut the $289 million dollar verdict ($39M compensatory and $250M punitives) that the plaintiff Dewayne Johnson secured this summer over the company that manufactures Roundup and Ranger Pro, the glyphosate-containing herbicides used by the plaintiff in his work as a school district groundskeeper and that were alleged to have
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Long-Term Environmental Impact of Hurricane Florence Yet to be Seen

As of press time, Hurricane Florence has claimed nearly 40 lives and caused extensive destruction in the hardest-hit areas of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. Environmental analysts will have their work cut out for them as they attempt to measure the environmental impact of the storm. At present, we have detected three current areas of primary environmental concern — risk to nuclear sites, the spread of coal ash waste, and the flooding of industrial farms.  Nuclear Sites: The Carolinas are uniquely situated
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Environmental Due Diligence: What’s The Latest On Federal Environmental Review?

Just a few days ago, the U.S. House of Representatives’ Judiciary Committee — in a tight split — voted to support a bill that seeks to target the slow pace of the permitting process for infrastructure and development projects that require review by federal agencies. The bill, named the “Permitting Litigation Efficiency Act,” is expected to impose limits on federal review of projects, i.e., an apparent two-year deadline for federal agencies to determine whether a project can go forward. Other
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PFAS Update: Unregulated (Mostly), Uncertain, and Ubiquitous

Partner George Buermann and associate Oliver Twaddell of the firm’s Environmental Practice Group recently published a short article, “PFAS Update: Unregulated (Mostly), Uncertain, and Ubiquitous,” in DRI’s Toxic Torts and Environmental Law Committee newsletter.  This update offers a quick read on key developments related to PFAS — chemicals that have become a major focus of both the plaintiffs’ bar as well as regulators relative to environmental, product liability, and toxic tort issues. Read the full article here. 
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California Leading the Charge In Renewable Energy

Recently, the Assembly of the State of California approved the 100 Percent Clean Energy Act of 2018 or “SB100” which will require all energy used in the state to come from renewable sources by December 31, 2045. The bill, authored by State Senator Kevin de León, passed the California Senate last year, the Assembly on August 28, 2018, and was reconciled by the Senate on August 29, 2018. All that remains before the bill becomes law, is Governor Jerry Brown’s
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EPA Releases Report Linking Sterilizing Chemical to Increased Risk of Cancer

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has determined that a suburban area in Willowbrook, Illinois is facing a risk of cancer over nine times the national average due to contamination by ethylene oxide. Ethylene oxide has been used for decades as fumigant to sterilize heat-sensitive medical equipment and other goods. The volatile, easily absorbed chemical has been recognized as a carcinogen since 1985. In December 2016, the EPA released a re-assessment linking it more conclusively to breast and blood cancer.
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Trump Administration Continues Rollback of Obama-Era CO2 Regulations

On August 21, 2018, the Trump administration released a proposed CO2 plan that will permit states to establish emission standards for coal power plants rather than encouraging their closure. The new proposal will provide coal companies with a strong financial incentive to keep their plants in operation, rather than the Obama administration’s goal of replacing them with power plants using renewable energy.  According to the EPA, the proposed rule, named the Affordable Clean Energy (rule), contains several key components:  a
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